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threats against Israeli journalists

Israeli media urge Facebook, Twitter to act on threats against journalists

The recent Israel-Gaza conflict has proved how both parties have an interest in limiting news reporting. A number of Israeli media outlets have called for “decisive action” from Facebook and Twitter against rising online threats and incitement to violence against journalists, Reuters reports.

Israel’s 14 top TV stations, newspapers, radio stations and news websites said in emailed letters from their lawyer, which were seen by Reuters, that threats and hate speech had risen in recent weeks, particularly during the 11-day conflict with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

The letters highlight tweets and posts calling for physical harm to Israeli journalists and labelling them as traitors or enemies of the state.

The Israeli media action comes shortly after US-based Committee to Protect Journalists said “Israeli forces should do their utmost to protect Palestinian and Israeli journalists covering unrest and conflict, and should ensure that members of the press can work safely and freely”.

Israeli forces earlier bombed the office which housed Associated Press and Al Jazeera in Gaza, alleging that Hamas military intelligence was operating inside the building.

Twelve AP staffers and freelancers were working and resting in the bureau when the Israeli military telephoned a warning, giving occupants of the building one hour to evacuate.

Facebook said on Tuesday it had established a special operations centre that includes Hebrew and Arabic speakers to respond to activity across its platform in real time and encouraged users to report any harmful content.

“We don’t want anyone to feel threatened or harassed on our apps,” a spokesman for Facebook said, adding: “While we allow criticism of public figures, such as journalists, we don’t allow people to threaten or harass them, and we remove this content whenever we become aware of it.”

According to Reuters, Twitter said it supports journalists and enforces a clear policy banning people from issuing violent threats against others, alongside policies on abusive behaviour and hateful conduct.


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